Friday, 23 June 2017

5 Tips For Starting Your Self Love Journey ...

If you didnt already know I am moving my body positive content over here to Discovering Charlotte. I have made this decision as I want this blog to focus on food, health and lifestyle and my journey to body positivity and embracing my body is really in the centre of everything. Learning not to hate my body, for how it looks or how it fails me with my chronic health problems is the underpinning for me learning to live a happy life. I wanted to share today my five tips for people who are beginning the journey themselves.
Body Positivity includes ALL Bodies, but was started by fat bodies.
If you truly want to immerse yourself in the body positive community you first have to accept this fact: FAT BODIES STARTED THIS MOVEMENT. If your body positivity only goes up to a certain size, you are not body positive. If you only include healthy bodies, you are not body positive. If you only include young bodies, you are not body positive. This space was created by fat women who wanted to say hey fuck you my body is none of your business and live in a body unapolgetically. The arguement that they are promoting obesity is simply ludicrus ... when did you last see a fat babe trying to make money selling you a diet plan so you could look like them?
I dare you to go onto instagram right now and have a look at the #bodypositive. I will bet you that theres at least one before and after shot, all 9 top posts are white and none of them over a size 14. There wont be a big belly in sight just cruves in all the right places. The problem is the once safe space created by the fat positive, fat acceptance movement has been taken away. People use the hashtag to sell and grow their brands. Please dont post before and afters, calories, diet talk etc as these are all things that can be triggering to those with eating disorders and disorded eating
Lose the term, "I feel fat."
Take it out of your vocabulary completely. Fat is not a feeling. I know Michelle is passionate about this and I am guilty of saying it. Along with terms like I am having a fat day. Well Im not, Im fat on every day (although aware that as a size 16 Inbetweenie I am very priveleged) When I am having an IBS flare I used to say i feel fat today, and now I day I feel very bloated and uncomfortable. These subtle changes in language can make a world of difference. 

Lose assigning food morality
Food is food ok? One of the best things I ever did for my body was to lose good foods and bad foods. This was terrifying for me at first because diet culture had me wound up tight like a spring, I really thought that when I let go of thinking of foods as good and bad I would ricochette into this endless binge where I would never stop eating. Admittedly on my first couple of days after embracing I ate a fair amount of food. We were on holiday in London and I always eat a lot there, but usually that would have been followed by a few weeks of restriction at home. By letting go of the guilt I found that when I got home and threw away my scales, food started to look less scary. Instead of a battle ground of thinking what was good and bad I started thinking about what my body wanted and started really listening to it. Some days My IBS was bad and i needed less, other days more. Its not an overnight thing but the more you listen to your body the easier it becomes.
Get to know your naked body as a whole
I remember one of the worst things about being ingrained in diet culture was that every time I "fixed" something I found something else that I didnt like. Once I had the smaller tummy I had always dreamed of I noticed how I had cellulite on my thighs. Once my arms no longer jiggled, I honed in on how much I didnt like my hair. You have to remember diet culture is all about money. Of course no one will ever reach the nirvana of thin and be happy, the companies will always invent something else for you to worry about as they need your money. It has to constantly change for them to keep taking your money!
Looking at myself naked was horrible at first. I remember standing in front of the mirror and crying. I hated every single thing. And so at first I went away from looks and would tell myself things like you are loved. You care for other people. Then slowly but surely I got used to my own body. I started to like my waist first, then my legs, and even started to think you know what my belly isn't so bad. Its mine and this body gets me from A to B. I feel, especially in social media, we are only given one type of body to look at. Honestly when was the last time you saw another naked body? If you are like me and work in a hospital you will have seen many. But when I asked this question people have limited options, themselves, their partner and porn stars. Which brings me nicely onto my next point ...

Unfollow, Unfollow, Unfollow
If youre instagram is full of one type of body of course you are going to compare yourself to that. I started unfollowing people who didnt make me feel good, muting friends that had a constant diet culture dialogue and started following a diverse range of bodies (a list of some of the babes you should follow is coming next week). Now I dont mean here follow any person on your feed that is thin, that would be silly, but a lot of the fitness bloggers I followed I was just following because of their body. Their content didnt nourish me in any way it just showed me a warped reality that everyone was thin and successful and to be successful I needed to be thin!
I hope you enjoyed this post and check back next week for the resources I think every body positive beginner should access! This will include books, youtube, podcasts, blogs and instagram!

Charlotte Lucy

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Trainspotting Live at Curve Leicester.

I am not sure how to start this post because last night I feel like I went on an amazing night out courtesy of Trainspotting Live at The Curve. When I saw the adverts for it I was a bit apprehensive but I am so glad I went along and I think anyone who is a fan of the film should definitely see this! Anywhere that you are handed a glow stick and a pair of earplugs before you take your seat is surely going to be good right?

 The list of warnings include loud noises, strong language, strobe lighting, claustrophobia, nudity ... basically it is not for the faint hearted! I was slightly worried about the claustrophobia but It was actually fine. Also when they say its immersive they really mean it! If interacting with the cast makes you uncomfortable make sure you buy a ticket for one of the seats!

From the start when we enter the theatre in a club and take our seats you are fully immersed in the show. My husband put it the best when he said you felt like the actors were putting a show on just for you. It was 75 minutes of being in trainspotting, not merely watching from a distance but actually being there and seeing exactly what they did. I didn't know that Harry Gibson's original stage adaptation came before the film.

Imagine all the iconic bits from the film - yes including that toilet scene - knitted together and shown by a group of really talented young actors. Its hard to really put into words how good this was, I really think you have to see it to really understand! It will be at The Curve until Saturday when it moves to Sheffield to carry on its UK tour where it will carry on until it finishes at Edinburgh Fringe in the summer!

Thank you once again to the curve for inviting me!

Charlotte Lucy
I was provided two tickets in exchange for a review but as always the comments and views are all my own!


Tuesday, 20 June 2017

24 Hours In ... Skegness

Welcome to a new series on the blog! One of my goals for this year was to get my IBS and Anxiety cycle under control enough so that I could go on weekends away and longer road trips. Previously road trips were hell on earth as I was always worrying about where the nearest toilet stop was. However at this weekend I managed a 2 and a half trip without giving it much of a thought and its spurred me on to do more exploring of the UK. Whenever I do this I will be bringing you a fully loaded post with everything we did in 24, 48 or 72 hours. I will start the timer as soon as we arrive and off we go!

The first thing we did when we arrived was go the Natureland Seal Sanctuary! I am a total animal lover and we got there just in time for feeding time in the baby seal pool. After a really informative talk we were introduced to Donald and Dennis. I didn't realise that it costs on average £2000 to rescue a seal, from food to vets bills, and then they are realised back into the sea. The project gets no outside funding and relies totally on visitors and support from projects such as adopting a seal. As they were being fed a seagull swooped in and stole a a whole fish! I wish I had have been quick enough to capture it on camera. 

The sanctuary is also home to meerkats, crocodiles, alpacas and other animals!

After walking around there we walked through all the amusement parks on the seafront (I tried to convince Tom to go on the rides but he wouldn't haha) and we found that we had worked up quite an appetite!  So we went to Tony's chippy (chosen purely because it had the shortest queue) and we weren't disappointed. I covered them in salt and vinegar and we sat in the blistering heat with no breeze eating them! Haha. I am not a hot weather girl.

We then went into one of the arcades along the front to escape the sun for a bit and we played on the 2p machines, played pool and also played on the pacman machine! Then I won myself a teddy on one of the crane machines. I had such fun as it was like being a child again. 

We then decided that we couldn't leave the seaside without having an ice cream! A quick google told us that the best place to go was Indulgence. Off the main street in the town they have homemade milkshakes, ice cream and fudge. I went for the bubblegum flavour as although it is my absolute favourite I very rarely have it as it doesn't mix well with other flavours! I really want to go back and try the fudge and the milkshakes! Also as I was wearing an ice cream print dress and so really it was only fitting!

We then jumped onto a little boat down by the clock tower to take us back down to where our car was parked. It was £3.50 each for a one way ticket and I found it so relaxing! My legs were tired from all the walking and also for me water makes me calm. Whether its the sea, a lake, a stream its like it just switches something in my brain that instantly chills me! When we got to the car it was time to drive 10 minutes to the village of Burgh Le Marsh where we would be spending the night!

As we had booked very very last minute (we decided on Thursday night that we wanted to go) there was only ONE room left on late rooms so we were a little bit apprehensive. We shouldn't have worried though as when we turned up at the Bell we were greeted with a warm welcome and shown to our room. The hotel has (I think) 11 bedrooms and 3 self contained cottages. We paid £75 for the night and our room was a triple room including breakfast. The facilities were fantastic, free wifi, a desk in the room, clean bathroom and free biscuits! What more could you ask for? Toiletries were also provided in the bathroom and I have to commend them on the amount of tea and coffee left in the room! Most places these days leave you one or two tea bags but we had more than enough for the two of us!

We decided to book a table in the pub for our dinner and we were overwhelmed! All of the starters looked good so we opted for a sharing platter for £9.95 and couldn't believe the size of it when it came! Piled high with homemade bread, olives, scampi, goujons, onion rings, brie wedges, Camembert bites and nachos! Now, every single component of this meal was done to perfection, not like the usual microwaved offerings you tend to get from most pubs!

If your mouth was watering at the starter the main was even more divine. We both ordered the black and blue burgers (although there was a really extensive choice of meals including the usual pub favourites such as fish and chips along with curries and specials!). When it came my eyes nearly popped out of my head at the sight of TWO burgers curved with oozing blue cheese and barbecue sauce. Every bite almost had a different taste through the smokiness of the BBQ sauce, to the salty cheese.

The chips were possibly the best I have ever tasted and reminded me of my favourite chips that my friend Leanne's dad used to cook for us! Talk about nostalgia, I love how a taste can take you back to a moment just like that! 

After a good nights sleep we went down for breakfast and I'm happy to report that the food was just as fantastic as it had been the night before! I forgot to take my camera down and so I thought you could have a picture of an alpaca! There hair is so fluffy! 

After breakfast we packed up our things and headed back to Leicester. I have injured my back and so sitting in a car for two hours was an experience! We had a fantastic time and I am looking forward to making the most of my weekends again. Also if you weren't convinced by how much we loved the hotel - we've booked on of the cottages for bank holiday weekend! 

Do you like Skegness? Let me know below if there are any places we should visit when we go Bank Holiday!

Charlotte Lucy

Monday, 19 June 2017

Why the Image of the "wellness blogger" needs to change.

One of the things I find most fascinating about blogging these days is that sometimes it feels a bit like being back at secondary school... and I am not talking about the bitchiness within the community! There are all these different niches which remind me a bit of the goths, chavs, emos etc that used to be spread around my school. I feel I like things that all of them do, but I dont seem to "fit" anywhere.

Over in the food tech room you have the food and recipe bloggers. These guys are amazing. You approach them with a brand, and they ll create a recipe out of it. Just like that, there could be a huge group of them all sent the same product and yet there creative little brains will come up with an abundance of different recipes. You know, sometimes I will hang out with them too but my brain doesn't seem to create recipes. I can follow one as long as its simple but that's about as far as my culinary skills go (However I did get a B in GCSE food tech so I must be doing something right.)

If you stop by the toilets on your lunch break you will find the beauty bloggers. Generally reapplying the newest MAC lipstick, they will be equipped with all the knowledge of how to achieve a full face of flawless makeup in about 15 seconds flat. They know how to apply a lipstick without it getting on your teeth and they can usually do their eyeliner flick standing up without a mirror on the bus. They also usually have perfectly manicured nails and can talk to you about all the latest beauty releases. I admire their skill, and have a bit of a nail varnish and lip product hoard myself but I am never going to achieve the beauty standards and I'm a barefaced hippie at heart.

Then down on the field (or in the gym, or on the tennis courts) are the fitness and wellness bloggers. They rise every morning to a yoga session before downing a green smoothie and heading for a cardio session. They eat their meal prepped lunch of plant based food out of a Tupperware box before heading for a weights session. These are the girls that I always looked in awe of and would punish myself to try and look like them by cutting calories, trying to exercise more (but ultimately when I was alone and no one could see my fat sweaty self) and just thinking I would never be like them.

This is where I believe the problem lies with the current wellness industry.

Wellness and wellness blogging has become synonymous with thin, white, women with abs.  It is almost like a members only club where the only way to be famous is to fit in that very narrow mould. Wellness should be about more than just how you look and I feel that a lot of women are excluded from feeling the best about themselves because the whole industry is permanently focused on doing A to lose weight.

This came to me last night when I was listening to the fantastic Don't Salt My Game pod cast and they were talking about Women's Health magazine. Now if you have never picked up the magazine, you may think that this would be all about health right? Well wrong. Its about weight loss. Not always the crude "lose weight in 7 days!" headlines that take up most of the space on women's magazines (and don't get me started on that I could talk about that for weeks ... )  but those such as the "Strong and Sexy ... muscles are hot" which Laura and Pixie talk about in the pod cast. On face value, I thought well whats wrong with that but actually, as the girls say in the pod cast, we all have muscles. Its a basic part of our anatomy. Just like we all have abs and so what they are actually saying is, lose weight and grow muscle if you want to be sexy because that's the only way to do it. Sexy = thin, apparently.

I also want to talk about the lack of diversity in the wellness industry. Using my Readly app which I absolutely love, I have just pulled up the picture of all the women's health magazines since July 2015. Look at what a diverse bunch they are!! I want to jsut clarify I have nothing wrong with thin women. EVERY body is welcome in body positivity but on there covers it is pretty much the same woman each time. Thin, toned, white. Ok they have a mixture of blondes and brunettes but thats as far as diversity goes.

The way I see myself has changed. Since embarking on my body positive (I am till not happy with  that term, go ahead and check out #bodypositive on instagram and look at the top 9 photos. I can almost guarantee that it will be cisgendered, thin, toned, curves in all the write places white women.) journey I have looked into plenty of health blogger events and been put off because I don't see someone like me there. You know someone who sweats profusely when I exercise. Someone whose belly hangs over my leggings while doing yoga and who's hair doesn't stay in a perfect ponytail while I run on the treadmill.

This is why I want to be part of the change that happens in the industry. I want to see a more diverse range of bodies attending health events. I personally am planning to attend a few over the next few months without worrying about how my body looks. This holistic journey for me is going to be focused so much more on how my body feels, and actually my mental health is number one priority as it should be for everyone. I have loads of content planned for this month and I hope you will join me in celebrating some of the other people who I think are paving the way for everyone to be on a journey of self discovery.

I want anyone to be able to access the wellness industry without being judged on their body. I want fat women to feel comfortable to work out in a crop top and shorts if they so wish. I know I have personally sweated through an intense cardio session in my gym before in a hoody so I didn't offend anyone with the sight of my belly - because god forbid I should be comfortable. The gym for so long to me was a place of punishment. Now I go for yoga and dance because I enjoy them and my body feels good after them, and I know my own limits.

If you are still reading then I applaud you, this has been one hell of a blog post!

Lets change the culture that says exercise and wellness are tools for weight loss and start empowering EVERYONE to do what they want with their body. If it feels good do it, if it doesn't don't

Charlotte Lucy.